Pioneers and Seekers

Our campers experience a summer of fun, friendship, and connection as Pioneers and Seekers.

Merrowvista days are intentionally designed to encourage Pioneers (entering grades 3 to 6) and Seekers (entering grades 7 to 8) to develop their best selves, encourage balanced living, and help campers create a positive community.

Campers live in cabin group called villages with a dozen peers and a dedicated staff leader, creating a dynamic and supportive environment. Villages serve as their family at camp, eating family-style meals and participating in daily community activities and games together.

A typical day at Merrowvista features plenty of community time, free time, and the opportunity for campers choose from a variety of Interest Group to create personalized daily experience. Each evening our community gathers for a high-energy, all-camp activity, before bringing the day to a quiet close during Village Insight.

As the youngest and often newest members of our camp family, Pioneers spend their time at Merrowvista learning how to live in community with their peers. They take the first steps toward identifying their personal values and are introduced to the idea of best self.

As older, more independent campers, Seekers venture into Merrowvista’s vast acreage to experience multi-day camping adventures where they are introduced to campcraft skills and outdoor cooking. They engage in more advanced activities and deepen their understanding of what “my own self” truly means.

All campers leave Merrowvista with lasting memories, new skills, friends, and newly gained confidence in themselves and their ability to make a positive difference in the world.

Summer 2022 registration will return to a first come, first served enrollment model (pending medical review), and waitlists will be created when programs fill.

2022 Dates & Tuition

Pioneers* and Seekers

Session A
Dates: July 3 to July 15 (two weeks)
Rate:  $3,300
*Only Pioneers entering grades 3, 4, and 5 are eligible for the two-week session.

Dates: July 3 to 22 (three weeks)
Rate: $4,750

Session B 
Dates: July 24 to Aug. 12 (three weeks)
Rate: $4,750


The AYF is committed to making summer camp accessible to all youth. As a nonprofit foundation fueled by generous donations from our alumni and families, the AYF offsets the price of every program for every participant. AYF also offers generous full scholarships and need-based financial aid.

Learn More

A Typical Day at Merrowvista

Most weeks at Merrowvista consist of four or five typical days and two or three special days. We know consistency is important for campers, so we ground the week in regular schedules and activities, while making time for atypical celebrations and exciting activities.

Special days may include Opening and Closing Days and other camp-specific holidays like the Four Fold Tournament and Ride In!


7:30 a.m.: Wake Up
7:40 a.m. Go-Getters (optional)
8:40 a.m.: Flag Raising and Morning Reflection
9:00 a.m.: Breakfast
9:45 a.m.: KCISP (Keep Camp in Shape Please)
10:15 a.m.: Interest Group 1
11:15 a.m.: Interest Group 2
12:15 p.m.: All-Camp Assembly


12:30 p.m.: Lunch
1:30 p.m.: Easy Time
2:45 p.m.: Interest Group 3
3:45 p.m.:  Village Time
5:00 p.m.: Camper Free Time


6:00 p.m.: Dinner
7:30 p.m.:  Night’s Doings
8:30 p.m.: Evening Reflections or Village Insight
9:30 p.m.: Lights Out

Interest Groups

What are they and how do they work?

Each week, campers sign up for three different Interest Groups, activities designed to have fun, learn a new skill, and practice being their best selves. Campers also have the opportunities to make new connections with campers of all ages.

Typical Interest Groups will include:

• Sailing
• Pool Party/Swim Games
• Paddle sports (canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding)
• Lake Michigan beach time
• Sports (soccer, dodgeball, Ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and more)
• Archery
• Woodshop
• High ropes course and rock climbing
• Pottery
• Yoga
• Theater/improv
• Arts and crafts (knitting, friendship bracelets, copper enameling, print making, and more)

Daily Schedule FAQs

What are Go Getters?

Optional but encouraged, campers have the opportunity to begin their day with a run, walk, yoga, swimming, or other energizing activity.

What is Assembly?

The camp gathers before lunch for fun, laughter, and the Village Inspection Report.

What is Village Time?

Each village meets to spend time together. Activities include the climbing tower, team challenge, orienteering, waterfront time, arts and crafts, cooking activities – and occasionally a shower!

What is the Four Fold Tournament?

In the last week of the session, camp creates six teams to enjoy friendly competition, where you will push all Four Folds to learn more about your very best self.

What is Night's Doings?

Each night brings a different all-camp activity, such as the talent show, camper leader hunt, capture the flag, scavenger hunts, and more!

"Overall, she is more willing to help out with tasks around the house. I think she sees the teamwork that can help the whole process. She seems quite comfortable in her own skin and is happy to be herself, even when her friends at school are different."

– Merrowvista Camper Parent